Kingdom of Great Britain


August 13, 2022

The Kingdom of Great Britain, sometimes also described as the United Kingdom of Great Britain, was a state in Western Europe from 1707 to 1801.


The kingdom was formed by the union of the Kingdom of England (including Wales) with the Kingdom of Scotland through the Acts of Union in 1707. However, the name Great Britain had come into vogue a century earlier, in 1603, when King James VI of Scotland also became king of England and the two kingdoms came under one king. With the Acts of Union in 1707, the national parliaments of England and Scotland were abolished and a new British Parliament formed. The new British Parliament and British government were based in London. The Act of Settlement in 1701, which applied to the entire kingdom of Great Britain after 1707, stipulated that the childless Queen Anna would be succeeded by Sophia of the Palatinate or her descendants. Only Protestants were allowed to ascend the British throne, Roman Catholics were excluded. After Anna's death in 1714, Sophia's son George I, Elector of Hanover, was crowned the first British King of the House of Hanover. During the 18th century, the Kingdom of Great Britain was regularly involved in the wars on the European continent, including the Spanish (1701-1714) and Austrian Succession (1740-1748), the Seven Years' War (1756-1763) and the First (1792 -1797) and War of the Second Coalition (1799-1802) against revolutionary France. In the Fourth Anglo-Dutch War (1780-1784), the British kingdom defeated the Republic of the Seven United Netherlands. In the French and Indian War (1754-1763), the British conquered the French colonies in North America. However, after the American Revolutionary War (1775-1783), the British kingdom lost its major American colonies, which became independent as the United States. The Kingdom of Great Britain lasted until the Act of Union of 1800, which did not take effect until 1801. The Kingdom of Ireland, which had been ruled in personal union by the English king since 1541, was merged with the kingdom to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland.


The British flag (the Union Flag) had been used on ships on the high seas since 1606 and consisted of the red Saint George's cross of the flag of England atop the Andrew's cross of the flag of Scotland. The flag of Wales was not included in the Union Flag as Wales had already been annexed by England in 1282. In Scotland, an alternative Union Flag was also used, with the Andrew's Cross on top of the George's Cross.


Anne of Great Britain (1707–1714), before that Queen of England and Queen of Scotland since 1702 George I of Great Britain (1714–1727) George II of Great Britain (1727–1760) George III of Great Britain (1760–1801), then King of the United Kingdom until 1820